Silver Lining

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Mali lifts state of emergency ahead of election

Press TV

Mali has lifted a nearly six-month-old state of emergency before the start of the campaign for the July 28 presidential election.

The central government made the announcement in a statement issued on Saturday.

The state of emergency was declared on January 12, a day after France launched a war in the West African country under the pretext of driving out militants occupying the north.

On Friday, the Malian army reestablished control over the strategic city of Kidal, which had been held by Tuareg rebels.

The Tuareg rebels had agreed to allow the army to enter the northern city in a peace deal that was signed between the government and the rebels last month.

The peace agreement — mediated by regional African powers, the United Nations, and the European Union — was signed on June 18 by Mali’s Territorial Administration Minister Colonel Moussa Sinko Coulibaly and representatives of two Tuareg movements in Ouagadougou, the capital of neighboring Burkina Faso.

The consensus was reached after nearly two weeks of negotiations between all sides.

“The signing of this agreement represents a significant step in the stabilization process in Mali,” said UN Special Representative to Mali Bert Koenders, who attended the signing ceremony.

On February 1, Amnesty International said “serious human rights breaches” — including the killing of children – were occurring in the French war in Mali.

Chaos broke out in Mali after President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government’s inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.

However, in the wake of the coup d’état, the Tuareg rebels took control of the entire northern desert region, but the Ansar Dine extremists then pushed them aside and took control of the region, which is larger than France or Texas.

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